PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded $5.25 million to Rhode Island to support the newly-created "Real Jobs Rhode Island" initiative. Real Jobs Rhode Island, part of the Raimondo Jobs Plan, is designed to improve workforce training efforts in Rhode Island by aligning training efforts with employers and their specific needs.

"Our focus is on getting Rhode Islanders back to work," Governor Raimondo said. "Real Jobs Rhode Island is a win-win. It will train Rhode Islanders so they can get jobs that actually exist, and it will make Rhode Island a more attractive place for companies to invest because they will have access to the well-trained workers they need."  

"We live in a very competitive world. Rhode Islanders are hard-working and creative, but too often we hear they don't have the modern skills to compete. That has to end, and this grant is part of that effort to realign our education and workforce training initiatives with high-demand sectors," said Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, which oversees funding for the U.S. Department of Labor.

"The Wall Street-driven recession left thousands of Rhode Islanders out of work through no fault of their own, and too many remain jobless even as our economy grows stronger," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  "This funding will help Rhode Islanders train for advanced manufacturing and technical jobs that employers are eager to fill, giving them the tools they need to thrive in the 21st century economy.  I'm very happy to see this funding coming to the Ocean State, where hard-working Rhode Islanders will put it to good use as we continue our recovery."

"We are facing a critical skills gap nationwide and in Rhode Island in particular, as we continue to adapt to a changing economic landscape. In order to reduce unemployment and improve our state's overall economic outlook, we must focus on workforce development and ensure that we have the skilled workers needed in industries with high growth potential," said Congressman Jim Langevin, the co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education Caucus in Congress. "These DOL funds will help to bridge the gap between industry and education, closing the skills gap and empowering a well-trained Rhode Island workforce."  

"This significant Federal grant will provide new resources to ensure that Real Jobs Rhode Island provides Rhode Islanders with the skills and tools they need to find work and compete in the global economy," said Congressman David Cicilline. "Workforce training is one of the most effective ways to grow our local economy, and I am proud that our Congressional Delegation helped bring this funding back to Rhode Island."

"This grant will put more muscle behind the Governor's mission of putting Rhode Islanders back to work and ensuring that employers have the talent they need to compete and grow in the global economy," said Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen.

The funds awarded today will be used to further develop the Governor's Real Jobs Rhode Island training initiative. Real Jobs Rhode Island is a flexible grant program aiming to ensure that employers have the talent they need to compete and grow while providing targeted education and skills training for workers. This funding may also be used for other employer-driven priorities, such as Building Futures, a pre-apprenticeship training program supported by the Governor's Workforce Board that serves the needs of the construction industry. More information about Real Jobs Rhode Island is available online.

Rhode Island is one of 27 states, along with the Cherokee tribal nation, to receive more than $138 million in federal funding through the Sector Partnership National Emergency Grant Program. More information about the federal grant awards is available online.